Building Community

My Experience at the Younger Generations Urantia Conference in Boulder CO January 13-16, 2012

 By Geoff Theiss: a 24 year old second-generation reader and YaYA Committee member from Livermore, CA.

The Friend comes into my body

looking for the center, unable

to find it, draws a blade,

strikes anywhere.

-Rumi-

Often when we retell a recent experience or memory, the story is characterized by a climax of euphoric emotion or dramatic excitement. But that was not the case this weekend in Boulder at a conference for young Urantia Book readers. The weekend for me was defined by an overwhelming sense of simple contentment; there was a sublime satisfaction in just being my normal everyday self.  Although it’s impossible to narrow down the one aspect of the weekend that created this feeling, it definitely had to do with the comforting warmth of being surrounded by like minded peers. Everyone participating in the weekend’s activities sincerely desired to build loving relationships and share in achieving a strengthened personal connection with God.  And all of that was made possible by the creative effort of Mike MacIsaac, who deserves special thanks for organizing such a unique opportunity for inward growth.

I arrived late on Friday and unfortunately missed the Chris Halvorson’s unique Perfecting Horizons study class (video and audio archives at this link http://www.perfectinghorizons.org/). But I did arrive in time to meet and connect with the group afterwards at the bar at the Outlook Hotel (where many attendants stayed). Saturday began with introductions focused on personal spiritual practice. We had the opportunity to share why we wanted to participate in the weekend and explain how we incorporate Father-minded thoughts, activities, and prayers into our daily lives.  There were twenty-something young adults, including young parents, from all over North America who had varying levels of familiarity with the Urantia Book.  Regardless of Book familiarity, however, there was a foundation of mutual respect.  In fact, no one was on a pedestal (either literally or figuratively) at any point in the weekend, which is one of the many things about the UB community that I am fond of.

The afternoon progressed with a hike in the Boulder foothills followed by a challenging workshop on improving the content and quality of communication in relationship.  In the evening we participated in a potluck event which was co-hosted by the local reader society Rocky Mountain Spiritual Fellowship. Highlights included an avocado-grapefruit salad, a beautiful trio of violin melodies, humor and inspiration filled talks by younger and older readers, and much opportunity for fellowship. The evening concluded with another rendezvous at the Outlook Hotel bar, late night hot-tubbing, and philosophical conversation lasting till sunrise.

One of the primary themes of the weekend was building community.  We were introduced over the course of the weekend to every major organization of the larger UB community such as Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association International (UAI), The Urantia Book Fellowship—including the Fellowship’s Youth and Young Adult (YaYA) Committee—and Truthseekers.  Being a member of the YaYA Committee myself, I was glad we were given an opportunity to share the exciting projects that our generation is invested in.  The YaYA Committee has been given funding and the freedom to help co-sponsor and organize gatherings like this. It seemed that everyone this weekend was committed to establishing a nonpartisan future founded on tolerance and the shared goal of living the teachings. Someone even suggested that since our team is dedicated to building community among the younger generations, we could envision ways to partner with all three of the larger organizations. An idea worth considering…

After a series of workshops from improv to indwelling spirit and some Book study, I had to make my bittersweet departure Sunday evening.  The gathering continued without me for another day of worship and fellowship on Monday which I regret to have missed.

All in all though, the weekend was a success.  It is always amazing how events like this yield a heightened self-confidence that carries over into my real-world existence, and coming back to California, I am still riding high.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making this weekend happen.  I eagerly await our next adventure.

 

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4 thoughts on “Building Community”

  1. Jeff you have a way with words my friend!

    I wasn’t able to make this event and it truly seems to be one I shouldn’t have missed. Mike I congratulate you on your ability to bring people together and for the success of this weekend. We truly are making ground in our community and the activities we have available to readers at large.

    This year of 2012 is going to put to the test what this generations legacy will be. Thank you all for your support and love for these events.

  2. Thanks Teuvo, yeah shame you couldn’t make it but glad you’ll be in Chicago this summer it is going to be great!

    I think it would be awesome if some folks put together a little caravan/bus-trip/tour and drive up through Boulder, Kansas (great group of folks there) and to Chicago. Wish I could do Taos but doesn’t look like it will be possible this year.

  3. Kudos! It’s wonderful to see Urantians coming together in community, and especially younger Urantians. Well done. I am inspired by your comments on community in your article, Teuvo, titled ‘Where is the Urantia Community’ dated 4/29/11. In it you remark:
    “I know that the UB does not call for us forming a church in which to praise and pray, but it sure would be amazing to have a center or meeting place besides our living rooms that could be a home base for the community’s Urantia Book readers”
    You challenge us to live the teachings of Jesus. That’s always hard to do; to step out of the comfort zones of our living rooms and begin a life changing spiritual journey. Yet, I am heartened to hear that young people such as yourselves are courageous enough to begin that journey and see it through. Won’t you help in the effort to rebuild a Garden? I hope the younger generation will be at the forefront of the march into spiritual community and help in creating the central meeting space you describe. Such a project would not only serve us individually and assist in the building of community, but also serve our planetary administration and the Divine Plan to bring our world to Light and Life.

    Keep dancing to the music of your soul!

    Meredith

  4. Miranda Clendening

    Thank you for letting me live through your memories and for taking the time to write and post this. I couldn’t make it because of some life dificulties but hope to see all of you guys in the near future 🙂

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